I am not entirely sure I'll be reading from Cicatrix; I may not decide until nearly then. The two stories I'm working on right now would work well in readings, I think, so that might happen. We'll see. And yeah, my reading is in a death slot like Friday night TV; originally it was during Kirk Poland, so that's better? Maybe? I hope? I will be doing Special Things there too. You should not miss it.
Thursday July 12
8:00 PM: Genrecare. Elizabeth Bear (leader), Kathleen Ann Goonan, Kelly Link, Shira Lipkin, Barry N. Malzberg. In a 2011 review of Harmony by Project Itoh, Adam Roberts suggests that "the concept of 'healthcare' in its broadest sense is one of the keys to the modern psyche." Yet Roberts notes "how poorly genre has tuned in to that particular aspect of contemporary life." Similarly, in the essay "No Cure for the Future," Kirk Hampton and Carol MacKay write that "SF is a world almost never concerned with the issues of physical frailty and malfunction." As writers such as Nalo Hopkinson, Tricia Sullivan, and Kim Stanley Robinson explore the future of the body, how is SF dealing with the concepts of health, medicine, and what it means to be well?
Friday July 13
11:00 AM: Group Reading: Mythic Poetry. Mary Agner, Mike Allen, Erik Amundsen, Leah Bobet, C.S.E. Cooney, Gemma Files, Gwynne Garfinkle, April Grant, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Shira Lipkin, Adrienne J. Odasso, Julia Rios, Darrell Schweitzer, Sonya Taaffe. Over the past decade, speculative poetry has increasingly turned toward the mythic in subject matter, with venues such as Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Stone Telling, Cabinet des Fées, Jabberwocky, and the now-defunct Journal of the Mythic Arts showcasing a new generation of poets who've redefined what this type of writing can do. Come to the reading and hear new and classic works from speculative poetry's trend-setters.
1:00 PM: Through a Glass, Dystopianly. Leah Bobet, Gwendolyn Clare, Jack Haringa (leader), Alaya Dawn Johnson, Shira Lipkin. Millions of words have been written on the current dystopian trend in young adult literature; the consensus seems to be that dystopias are a reflection of the state of being a modern teenager, feeling trapped and uncertain of who you are. Fair enough. But given that the teen years are often when people first become engaged with wider world concerns—and given that these books are written by adults aware of those concerns—perhaps there are also particular anxieties about the current state of society and the world feeding the popularity of books like Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games or Ali Condie's Matched. The Hunger Games, for example, can be read as commentary on the issues surrounding the Occupy protests, with those in power controlling resources as a way of maintaining order at the cost of tremendous collateral damage to the innocent. Is this a useful way of reading these stories? Are there similar issues we can discern in other recent young adult fictions? And what issues might we expect to see reflected in future YA works?
4:00 PM: Readercon Recent Fiction Book Club: Who Fears Death. Andy Duncan (leader), Shira Lipkin. In her World Fantasy Award–winning first adult novel, Nnedi Okorafor continues her groundbreaking project of drawing on her own Nigerian heritage, African mythology and politics, and profoundly disturbing practices such as weaponized rape and clitoridectomy to create unique speculative work. Set in a haunting and haunted world that is part far-future post-tech SF, part myth, and utterly contemporary in its central issues, Who Fears Death raises important questions about the often-sentimentalized portrayal of Africa in SF, about feminism and empowerment, about the possibilities of SF and fantasy imagined from a non-Western perspective, and even about genre distinctions—sorcery and shapeshifting coexist with computers, satellite communications, and "capture stations" to draw precious water from the air. What does Okorafor's vision state and imply about the relationship of speculative fiction to the developing world, its capacity for engaging the social and economic issues of that world, and the ways it can be shaped by non–Anglo-American settings and assumptions?
7:00 PM: Kaffeeklatsch. Jim Freund, Shira Lipkin.
Sunday July 15
2:30 PM: Reading. Shira Lipkin. Shira Lipkin reads from Cicatrix, a novel in progress.